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7 Top Tips for Camping With Kids

7 Top Tips for Camping With Kids

04.04.2024 | Camping

We asked Ruth Davies-Knowles to give us the low down on how to navigate the wonderful; world of camping with kids.

Ruth is a mum of 4, journalist, blogger and non-professional taxi driver thanks to her children’s many activities. As a Norfolk dweller, she spends much of her time following the north Norfolk surf, from inside a robe on the beach, not in the sea.

I’m not a natural Bear Grylls, my ideal camping climate is “fair weather” and not so hot that the tent becomes a sauna, yet with the gift of endless blue skies running into an evening. However, non-reliable sunshine in the UK means we either never go or plan to make it work whatever the weather. We choose the latter, and after 5 wet nights in Cornwall last year, I’d still do it all again. It’s all about the precision planning I say!

Family camping

1. Choose your camp site wisely

Where we’ve coped in rain gallantly, it was gale force winds atop a cliff in Dorset that did get us questioning our choices. We now look for low ground sites with electricity hook ups (sorry Bear, we like charged phones) and a safe space for the kiddos to play. The Caravan and Motorhome Club let you filter the things important to you, by area and facilities – mega helpful! Another place to look for site recommendations is the “UK Camping” group on Facebook. Over 180,000 members share their site experiences like a conveyor belt of great spots to book!

Camping with kids

2. Buy a brilliant tent

Make family life easy and buy an air beamer. We used to watch other families effortlessly be up and away in minutes, while we struggled with poles that never seemed to fit, then finally we joined the ranks and have never looked back! Our current tent is made by Coleman, who have a patented technology in their blackout bedrooms. Early mornings, with the sun rising before even the lark, are fab! Over-tired children and holidays do not mix, so this bedroom hack for your tent is a gift.

Weekender 4 Man Tent

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3. Don’t take a suitcase

You’ll need to pack for every eventuality (weather wise again), and remember, regardless of season, night times are cold. Slip on shoes are a must, as are lots of pairs of socks (I don’t know why, but we go through them!) but my best packing tip is to not even bother with a suitcase!

Instead, plastic boxes with lids can be packed for each person with pre-rolled bundles of clothes so that you don’t have to rummage. The boxes stack in the car, then keep everything neat and tidy in the tent, while back at home they can stack inside each other waiting for their next trip – bonus!

Tor 65L Rucksack

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4. A good night’s sleep

Bring pillows from home! Pillows are a must but I even bring a fitted sheet and duvet. Sleeping with proper bedding makes a real difference to how well we sleep and having enough space does too! This is where I’m thinking about introducing Bundle Beds for the children – I’ve heard great things about them being the bed equivalent to my “outfit roll” hack for clothing. A whole bed rolled inside itself with no need for pumping as they self-inflate. You can buy different sizes and even add on bumpers for a toddler. They are an investment as don’t come with a bargain basement price tag however, camping equipment is always a case of buy cheap, buy twice!

Kids camping

Making good investments in things that last is always best when you want to ensure family holidays for years to come. We tend to make one big camping purchase every year and every year camping gets a bit easier because of it.


Junior Bundle Bed

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5. The gadgets!

You could buy a camping version of absolutely anything, but you don’t need to. There are loads of things you can customise or adapt, but my top three camping gadgets we couldn’t live without would be:

  • A rotary washing line (seriously, stuff gets wet, and you need one of these)!
  • A big torch, or light, for each room in the tent.
  • A huge bucket!

(You can use a bucket to wash up in, bathe a baby, as a vessel with cleaning water to wipe sides… And… If you really have to, (we do) in the middle of the night, you can use it for a “comfort break”!

Large Rechargeable Lantern

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6. What’s for dinner?!

Cooking on a gas stove at camp is fun. Invest in a good one which can take only two pans (a big and a small) to make all our meals with. Favourites are fried cheese sandwiches, pasta and bacon and eggs, but sometimes we have adventurous innings with even something like a crab linguine. Keeping things simple, with few ingredients is an obvious one, but batch cooking before you go, freezing and allowing things like curries to defrost slowly in the cool box, not only offer trickier meals to be heated at camp, but keep other things in the box nice and fresh.

I freeze practically EVERYTHING before we go to use frozen food as freezer blocks – it saves space AND serves a purpose. You can even freeze bottles of milk and drinks (let out a little from bottles before you do, or the liquid expands and can erupt)!

For breakfasts children ALWAYS love a mini cereal variety pack and the best tip when eating those at camp is to pour the milk directly inside the plastic bag housing the cereal inside its box. Just dig your spoon in and enjoy – no washing up!

Kids camping food

Make a little store cupboard of essentials like:

  • Seasonings, salt and pepper
  • Olive oil (spray bottles are great)
  • Tea and coffee
  • Concentrated juices for the children
  • LOADS of individually packed snacks
  • Long life milk (just in case)

Campingaz Camp’Bistro 3

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7. Things you might, but shouldn’t forget

  • Mallet
  • Sharp knife
  • Washing up liquid
  • Bin bags
  • TOWELS (cannot stress that one enough)
  • Dustpan and brush
  • Wet wipes/anti bac wipes
  • A pack of cards and a bat and ball


Camping isn’t always easy, it’s often hard work and children can make that more-so. But it’s an experience my whole family enjoy regardless, and, more to the point, talk about often as we look back at the memories made, and look forward to the next time we get to pack up our top box, play Jenga with our trailer and drive somewhere new, for an adventure which won’t break the bank.

All you have to do now is get planning!

P.S, My camping non-negotiables (after lots of trial and error) are:

Cocktails in a jar

A drive that doesn’t exceed 4 hours, comfy chairs, chilled drinks (I make cocktails in jam jars before we go), a decent air bed and pump, bunting and fairy lights (well, it’s got to be pretty right?!)

Large Foldable Camping Trolley

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